U.S. asks North Korea to release two detained Americans

WASHINGTON Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:30pm EDT

Jeffrey Fowle is shown in this City of Moraine handout photo released on June 9, 2014. REUTERS/City of Moraine/Handout via Reuters

Jeffrey Fowle is shown in this City of Moraine handout photo released on June 9, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/City of Moraine/Handout via Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department, citing "humanitarian concerns," asked North Korea on Monday to release two Americans who North Korean official media said would be put on trial for committing crimes against the state.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency, referring to the imprisoned men, Jeffrey Fowle and Matthew Miller, said "their hostile acts were confirmed by evidence and their own testimonies."

Asked about the report, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, "Out of humanitarian concern for Mr. Fowle and Mr. Miller and their families, we request North Korea release them so they may return home."

She also called on North Korea to pardon and release Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary who was arrested in November 2012, convicted and sentenced by North Korea's supreme court to 15 years hard labor last year.

"We request North Korea pardon Kenneth Bae and grant him special amnesty and immediate release so he may reunite with his family and seek medical care," Psaki said.

The United States has no diplomatic relations with North Korea and works through Swedish diplomats when U.S. citizens are detained.

Psaki said Swedish officials had visited Fowle on June 20 and Miller on May 9 and June 21. It is unclear whether both men are being held in the same location.

Psaki declined to give additional information citing concerns for their safety.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (6)
johne37179 wrote:
Why would any “tourist” go to PRK in the first place? Why should we expend any effort protecting that level of stupidity?

Jun 30, 2014 3:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SoutherRican wrote:
If one is stupid enough to go to North Korea, knowing how much they hate the United States, I say too bad, so sad, for these two. AND yes they are guilty as sin, according to North Korean law, they make the laws there. Note that the U.S. State Department is also guilty, for our country doesn’t prohibit citizen from going there, Cuba is another story. I say give them Dennis Rodman, in an even trade.

Jun 30, 2014 3:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
I’m sure that John Kerry has privately given Kim Jong un the “don’t cross the red line” and “this can ugly real fast speech.” Kim must be shaking in his boots after seeing what happened to Assad, Putin….Maliki and all the other leaders that have crossed the Obama administration. Sure taught them a lesson the rest of the world won’t soon forget.

Jun 30, 2014 7:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures